2014 PGA Tour Championship: Preview And TV Schedule


Sep 1, 2014; Norton, MA, USA; Chris Kirk hold the Deutsche Bank Championship trophy after winning the final round at TPC of Boston. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

After three very exciting weeks of the 2014 FedEx Cup Playoffs in the rear-view mirror, it’s time for the big show at the East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia and the Tour Championship. Twenty-nine of the top players will tee it up on Thursday for the $8 Million Dollar purse, and a chance for an extra $10 Million Dollars for winning the FedEx Cup. The minimum payday for everyone in the field is $330,000 dollars.

In reality, the field will only tee off 29 players in this 30-man event because after all of the dust settled on Sunday at Cherry Hills, Dustin Johnson, who has been on voluntary leave for the last six weeks, still occupies the 30th, and last position, but will not be in the field on Thursday morning.

More from Golf News

BMW Champion, Billy Horschel comes to Atlanta, nine points behind Deutsche Bank Champion, Chris Kirk, but when the points are reset it will be a different story. Bubba Watson took over the third spot in lieu of his second-place finish at Cherry Hills, Rory McIlroy is in fourth place, and 2014 Barclays Champ, Hunter Mahan rolls off fifth.

With the points reset, only the top five players are guaranteed to win the FedEx Cup if they can manage a win at East Lake on Sunday afternoon. Hunter Mahan becomes the only person in FedEx Cup history to play in every tournament since the inception of the playoff system if he make his Thursday tee-time.

Most people associate Augusta National with Bobby Jones, but East Lake, which used to be called The Atlanta Athletic Club, and is the boyhood home of Bobby Jones, and is the place where he played as a youngster.

The Atlanta Athletic Club was opened in 1908, and originally designed by Tom Bendelow, but later revamped by legendary course designer, Donald Ross. The East Lake course is 7154 yards, and plays to a par of 70.

Zach Johnson set the 18 hole course record at ten under par 60 in 2007 during the third round of the Tour Championship. Tiger Woods holds the tournament record of 257, also set in 2007.

In 2013, Henrik Stenson held off a charging Jordan Spieth to win the title, and the $10 Million dollar bonus. The big Swede went on to win the European Tour’s Race To Dubai Championship. He finished in 58th place this year, and will not be at East Lake to defend his championships.

The FedEx Cup playoff was started in order to get the best players, and top names in golf in one spot to play for a lot of money. It has been unable to sustain the momentum through the years, and the only world-class players in the top five are Rory McIlroy, and Bubba Watson.

With Phil Mickelson withdrawing during the BMW last week, and saying this will be his last entry into the playoffs, it brings into question what exactly is wrong with the system.

One of the big problems I see, is it comes up against the start of the Football season here in the US, and no other sport has been able to survive this problem. Maybe pushing the event further down into the fall, after football has had a chance to cool down, would allow it to fare better.

The European Tour plays it’s Race To Dubai Championship playoff in late October, in warm weather places, it tends to draw a little better visibility.

• TELEVISION: Thursday-Friday, 1-6 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday, noon-2:30 p.m. (GC), 2:30-6 p.m. (NBC). Sunday, noon-1:30 p.m. (GC), 1:30-6 p.m. (NBC).

• RADIO: Thursday-Sunday, noon-6 p.m. (PGA TOUR Radio on SiriusXM and PGATOUR.com).